By Alexander Levkovsky
Over his four day visit, the Minister took part in a session of the Belarusian-Israeli Commission on Trade and Economic Co-operation and in the Belarus-Israel Business Forum. He also met Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and the Chairman of the Grodno Regional Executive Committee, Semen Shapiro.
The first Israeli investments into our country primarily focused on the agrarian sector, but have since expanded to cover IT, tourism and pharmaceuticals. According to Mr. Misezhnikov, last year, Israeli injections into our economy totalled $276m and this is far from the limit. Both sides are to increase the level of state guarantee on investments to $300m per year.
The Tourism Minister is especially interested in the Grodno Region, where 15 companies using Israeli capital are already operating. A major joint project being realised there deals with raising turkeys at Novaya Yelnya Combine of Bread Products. An equipment supplier has been chosen and a site allocated for construction.
He announced pleasant news that visas are to be eventually abolished for Belarusians visiting Israel and Israelis coming to Belarus; at present, negotiations remain underway to liberalise the regime. Mr. Misezhnikov explained, “At the first stage, the fee for visas will be abolished; a decision on this issue is expected within a few months. Around 140-150 thousand Belarus-born people reside in Israel and many would like to visit Belarus to satisfy their ‘nostalgia’.”
Guests will also be able to satisfy their desire for relaxation; the Israeli Minister was delighted by the level of agro-ecotourism in Belarus.